Why 2014 is going to be amazing

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There was a very brief introduction in my welcome post, but it’s time that the newest member of the Herniman clan has a proper introduction, especially as we now know a little more about him!

At 20 weeks and 5 days we know that Baby H is actually Baby Boy H, and he’s due to arrive in May this year. A real challenge to my be more organised resolution!

We don’t have any names that we love or agree on, but Baby H seems happy enough about this, somersaulting away and giving me little jabs now and then. They’re not strong enough to feel from the outside yet, but I think a few more weeks and Mr H will be able to feel them too.

As far as pregnancy goes I have been very lucky! A mild case of nausea and occasional sickness in the first few months seems to have passed after about 17 weeks.
The exhaustion also is lifting, moving house during the first trimester was not the best idea, poor Mr H practically moved by himself bar a box or maybe two! I am feeling more energy now, and less tiredness and napping during the day.
Generally I feel great though! I never thought I would feel the most confident about myself and my body when it’s going through these huge changes. I hope it lasts past birth, it’s such a relief to stop worrying about my shape, size and weight. Obviously post birth I’ll be thinking about shaping up etc, but I hope it’s because I want to be healthy for my family and not because I’m worried about what people think of my size.

Talking of size, at the halfway stage Baby H is around 7 inches long, and weighs about 11oz. It’s crazy to think that this tiny little thing is going to be arriving in the world in less than 20 weeks, hopefully weighing a lot more (but not too big!) and screaming his way into our lives. I have never been so excited about something so life changing and scary. And I couldn’t wish for anyone better to share it with than Mr H.

So I think 2014 is going to be the best ever, whether I stick to my resolutions or not. Because 2014 is going to bring the biggest, most exciting change ever. Our beautiful baby boy!

Mrs H xxx

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New Years Resolutions – continued

Continuing on from yesterday’s resolutions post, which was written as fast as possible to make sure it was actually posted on the right date…check be more organised! Like I said, I think resolutions should be a working thing, something you can work on and add to throughout the year. Here are a few more of mine that I’m kicking off 2014 with.

3. Be more selfish – stop pandering to others in work and focus on what is best for me and my family. I burned myself out too many times last year doing what is “right” for everyone else. This year it’s about us.

4. Don’t stop writing To Do lists but actually start doing them! – I guess this is apart of ‘Be more organised’, but I am queen of to do lists, I write lists about lists, shopping lists, places to go lists, cleaning lists, etc etc… But actually completing them is usually a different matter. It’s why I haven’t got around to selling my crafts at a fete or fayre for the past two years, despite working out all my plans. If it’s going to happen this year I’m going to have get myself into gear!

5. Complete the FatMumSlim photo-a-day challenge – ok so it’s not life changing, but it’s something I want to do! For those of you on Instagram, especially if you follow me, you may be aware of the FatMumSlim blog and her photo prompts. They encourage you to post something everyday, and I always start the month by posting the prompt list and saying something like “I’m going to do it this time” and then get 3 days in and forget or get lazy. So this year I’m going to make more of an effort with it. Because it’s fun!

January’s prompt list:

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6. Blog more! – write stuff down on lunch breaks, car journeys, quite times at home, whatever or wherever just write more! I love writing and sharing, but I get so bad at doing. If I can’t blog I definitely won’t ever get started on that book I want to write! So little at a time, lets start here, with weekly posts, or at the very least bi-weekly. Something tells me this year will get busier (more on that later) but here would be a great way to record the Herniman milestones…but only if I remember to post!

Well that’s enough on resolutions for now. I better get started!

Mrs H xxx

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year blog land. I hope 2013 was good to you all.
It was an interesting year at the Herniman House, huge ups and major downs. Literally a year of new life and death. And we will never forget a single memory of any of them.

I know it’s a cliche, but it does make you realise what and who is important. So this year’s New Years resolutions are more about family and friends, personal goals and aspirations, instead of weight loss and stopping biting my nails (plus I’ve almost got that down!)

1. Make more effort to keep in touch – I’m pretty bad at replying to phone calls, texts and emails.

2. Be more organised – remember birthdays and send cards, keep the house tidier and more organised, stop loosing and misplacing stuff!

And the rest would be a work in progress. Resolutions should be made, improved and built on all year, not just the first.

Mrs H xxx

Chilli Jelly

The perfect accompaniment to the ham, well my favourite at least, is Nigella’s Chilli Jelly. Did I mention the woman is a genius!? Sweet and slightly spicy, this is good with hot or cold meats, dipping in chunks of cheese, spread on sandwiches, and generally anything you want to try it with!

Using jam sugar does make this so much easier, but I recommend adjusting the boiling time depending on the outcome you want. The recipe calls for 10 minutes at a ‘rollicking boil’, this will form a thick but still very liquid jelly, good for dipping and spooning over, however if you do prefer it to set into a more spreadable ‘jam’ then up the boiling time to 20minutes. Be very careful when leaving it longer, you don’t want it boil over or catch on the bottom! This is mostly personal preference, we prefer it more like a thick dipping sauce, whereas friends that we made it for asked for it to be firmer, either way it still tastes divine!

Ingredients

150 gram(s) long red chilli pepper (deseeded and cut into pieces)
150 gram(s) red peppers (cored, deseeded and cut into chunks)
1 kilogram(s) jam sugar
600 ml cider vinegar

Method

Sterilize your jars and leave to cool

Put the chilli and peppers into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped

In a saucepan dissolve the sugar in the vinegar, over a low heat, without stirring! This keeps the jelly clear. Also this will take a while, be patient and keep an eye on it, I’ve found that once the sugar has all dissolved it will come to a boil very quickly, if you’re not concentrating it will boil over! Lesson learnt!

Once it’s all dissolved scrape the chilli and pepper flecks into the vinegar and sugar, still not stirring. Bring to the boil and leave at a rollicking boil for 10-20 minutes, depending on how set you want it (see above).

Take the saucepan off the heat, and leave to cool for about 40 minutes, it will have started to firm up, and you can now pour or ladle this into your jars. Stirring at this stage is fine.

Seal jars tightly and voila! Yummy chilli jelly!

Mrs H xxx

Heavenly Ham

I won’t have a bad word said against Nigella Lawson. Whoever can come up with a recipe for a huge hunk of meat flavoured with my addiction ( full fat cola) and glazed in two kinds of sugar (and a little spice) can be my BFF forever!
And for anyone who is a bit dubious about trying this I urge you to give it a go! It converted everyone who tried it at the Herniman House last Christmas and I’ve been begged to make several this year! And if you are really unsure just make a small one, last year I bought a 1kg gammon for less than £5 in a supermarket, and that was just before Christmas, and the recipe is easy to halve. However I was shouted at a lot for not making enough. Give it a go….you know you want to!

Ingredients:

2kg gammon
2 litres cola (your favourite brand, MUST be full fat)
1 onion, halved
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tsp English mustard powder
1 tbsp Demerara sugar
Handful cloves (optional)

If you think you’re gammon is going to be too salty place it in a saucepan and cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. As soon as it comes to the boil turn off the heat and drain the water away.

Put the gammon in to a saucepan, skin side down, and pour over the cola, it should cover it as much as possible, but if it doesn’t then just remember to turn it halfway through cooking. Add the onion and two cloves and bring to the boil.

Turn heat down so its gently simmering and leave to cook for 2 1/2 hours (remember to turn if needed). If you put the gammon in straight from the fridge, you may need to leave for an extra 20 minutes or so to make sure it’s cooked through.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 9 / 475*f / 240*c

Take the ham (it’s gammon when it’s raw and ham when cooked, unless you’re American when it is always ham – thanks Nigella for that!) out of the cola and leave it to cool until it is comfortable to handle.

Slice the skin and most of the fat from the top, leaving just a thin layer of white fat, and score this in a criss cross pattern to make diamond shapes.

If you want to use cloves you then stud the middle of each diamond with a clove.

Then brush over the fat with the treacle, sprinkle with the mustard powder and then sugar, and place onto a foil lined tray, or a disposable foil tray. You don’t have to, but unless you have a big desire to soak and scrub you’re baking trays I really recommend lining with foil!

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until sugar has caramelised and formed a gorgeous crust. It will of course look burnt but that’s because of the black treacle.

Try to let other people try some so you can enjoy all the compliments, although it is difficult to share!

This is lovely both hot and cold
Enjoy!

Mrs H xxx